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Chinese expert: “The West must perceive Taiwan differently”

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Status: 08/03/2022 2:32 p.m.

The Chinese reaction to Pelosi’s visit to Taipei harbors the risk of an uncontrolled escalation, according to expert Shi-Kupfer. However, she does not expect an invasion any time soon and calls on the West to take a different look at Taiwan.

tagesschau.de: Nancy Pelosi visits Taiwan – what message do you want this visit to send?

Kristin Shi Copper: This visit is a sign of support for Taiwanese leaders. At the same time, it is a signal sent to China and countries in the region that the United States is ready not only to defend Taiwan, but also to defend a regional order in their interests – with allies like Japan. , Australia and Singapore . This contrasts with a regional order determined by China.

Pelosi also signals that the United States has geostrategic and economic interests here and a claim to leadership. Finally, it is a signal for the United States, where there is a broad bipartisan consensus for a tougher stance on China.

Kristin Shi Copper |  University of Trier

To no one

Kristin Shi-Kupfer is a professor at the Institute of Sinology at the University of Trier.

“Establish a military balance in favor of Taiwan”

tagesschau.de: Pelosi told Taipei that the United States would not break its commitment to Taiwan. What does this mean – how far is the United States willing to go to defend Taiwan’s independence?

Copper Shi: Essentially, the United States is prepared to provide military support to Taiwan so that it can ward off aggression if Taiwan is attacked or militarily provoked by China into having to defend itself. This means that the United States wants to create military leverage in favor of Taiwan through its own presence in the region, for example through aircraft carriers.

tagesschau.de: US President Joe Biden has also used such formulations on several occasions in recent months. Now, before the visit, he obviously held back. How do you interpret this?

Copper Shi: There are two levels. Biden assured Xi in a phone call that the United States would adhere to the one-China principle. It could therefore be a strategic communication signal for Xi that he – Biden – cannot prevent this visit to a liberal democracy with different actors.

The second level: This visit has a very personal note. We can assume that Pelosi exchanged views with his party colleague Biden before his trip. But she certainly insisted on the visit for personal and biographical reasons – Pelosi has always been a very clear advocate for freedom, democracy and human rights in China as well.

“No violation of the one-China policy”

tagesschau.de: Beijing leaders said the visit violated the one-China policy. How valid is that?

Copper Shi: It’s not true – it’s not a formal violation. Biden has pointed this out over and over again. The United States still maintains diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China and has no intention of changing that. However, it is part of the growing international recognition of Taiwan as a responsible actor within the international community, in particular contrast with the often very opaque and increasingly aggressive behavior of the leaders of the People’s Republic.

It’s a process the US started a long time ago – also under Donald Trump – back then it was much more spectacular and rhetorically certainly not as adept as the current US administration.

Despite warnings from China, US Democrat Nancy Pelosi continues Taiwan visit

Torben Börgers, ARD Washington, Morning Magazine, August 3, 2022

“New quality manoeuvres”

tagesschau.de: The People’s Republic reacted, among other things, with vast maneuvers around Taiwan. What characterizes these maneuvers?

Copper Shi: As far as we can tell from the maps and announcements of the Chinese administration, these maneuvers look like an encirclement of Taiwan. Another difference with the military exercises of the previous crisis periods is that they must take place very close to the Taiwanese territorial waters and partly in sight of the Taiwanese coasts. It has a new quality.

We will have to wait and see what other announcements are forthcoming and actually implemented, such as if and where the Chinese military will fire missiles. We remember the crisis of 1995 and 1996, when Beijing carried out missile tests off the Taiwanese coast.

“Danger of something unforeseen happening”

tagesschau.de: What is the danger of military threats spiraling out of control?

Copper Shi: This danger should not be underestimated. I don’t think either side is now actively seeking military conflict – it’s not in the interest of either the People’s Republic or the United States, and certainly not Taiwan. But the density of military hardware in the region increases the risk of something unforeseen and unforeseen happening, of risky maneuvers like the ones we’ve seen repeatedly lately spiraling out of control. This should not be underestimated.

It is good that the United States and China are talking to each other, as Biden and Xi’s phone call showed. It is important that the two leaders continue to be in direct contact with each other and inform and exchange information on the red lines and the measures to be taken.

“Short-term integration too risky for China”

tagesschau.de: Assuming Xi Jinping takes his goal of annexing Taiwan to China seriously, is that where he is headed?

Copper Shi: The maneuvers announced, the sanctions now imposed on Taiwanese goods and companies and the cyberattacks show that the People’s Republic has prepared for such a situation. These reactions certainly also target their own population. The long-term goal remains the integration of Taiwan, as all previous governments have formulated it. However, Xi Jinping has escalated the emergency over the past few months through systemic provocation with intensified cyberattacks and intensified penetration into the Taiwanese air defense zone.

But I don’t think Chinese leaders will try to integrate Taiwan in the short term. It would be a very complex military operation that requires a lot of preparation. From the Chinese leadership’s point of view, it is very risky in the short term, especially given the experience of the war in Ukraine.

tagesschau.de: To put it bluntly: the Chinese army is not ready yet?

Copper Shi: The incorporation of Taiwan would ultimately mean a landing invasion. This is practiced and also disseminated to the public. But I don’t expect the Chinese military to be ready for such a complex operation in the short term, especially given the increased US presence in the region.

“Taiwanese ready to defend their freedom”

tagesschau.de: How do Taiwanese feel about being part of the People’s Republic?

Copper Shi: So far too little attention has been paid to this issue. We saw moving footage from Taipei airport, where people filmed Pelosi landing on their cellphones and erupted in delight. Certainly, there are now isolated polls in the Taiwanese media that indicate that people are a little more worried about the medium-term consequences of the visit. A few voices – in my opinion very few – of opponents to Pelosi’s visit could also be heard.

But at the same time, it’s impressive how many people in Taiwan say they’ve had such worries all their lives. That they are ready to defend their independence, their freedom and their democracy with all their might, to live with this fear, not to give in and not to surrender. This strongly reminds me of the strength and will to resist of the Ukrainian people.

“The time has come to have a clear position”

tagesschau.de: What are the lessons of these last days? Should the West step up its support for Taiwan, or should it return to quiet diplomacy?

Copper Shi: First of all, the West needs to realize much more what Taiwan is, a mature democracy, with all of its pluralism, with all of its different tones – unlike the People’s Republic of China, where we hear a lot of aggressive rhetoric, certainly also because of censorship. The United States has set a new normal here, despite massive pressure from China in a situation in which the United States has no interest in further straining relations with China.

For Europe and for Germany, this means that we should recognize Taiwan’s role much more. Of course, we shouldn’t provoke Chinese leaders. But we must send a clear signal to Beijing that aggressive threats have no place in a rules-based international order. This is the basis of a foreign policy that does not separate interests and principles, but connects them. The time has therefore come to take a clear stand for democracy and freedom, whether in Ukraine or in the Taiwan Strait.

The conversation was led by Eckart Aretz, tagesschau.de

Source www.tagesschau.de

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